Prevalence, Genetic Diversity and Factors Associated with Distribution of Listeria monocytogenes and Other Listeria spp. in Cattle Farms in Latvia


Listeria spp. is a diverse genus of Gram-positive bacteria commonly present in the environment while L. monocytogenes and L. ivanovii are well known human and ruminant pathogens. The aim of the present study was to reveal the prevalence and genetic diversity of L. monocytogenes and other Listeria spp. and to identify the factors related to the abundance of pathogen at cattle farms. A total of 521 animal and environmental samples from 27 meat and dairy cattle farms were investigated and the genetic diversity of L. monocytogenes isolates was studied with WGS. The prevalence of Listeria was 58.9%, while of L. monocytogenes it was −11%. The highest prevalence of L. monocytogenes was found in the environment—soil samples near to manure storage (93%), mixed feed from the feeding trough and hay (29%), water samples from farms drinking trough (28%) and cattle feces (28%). Clonal complexes (CC) of CC37 (30%), CC11 (20%) and CC18 (17%) (all IIa serogroup) were predominant L. monocytogenes clones. CC18, CC37 and CC8 were isolated from case farms and CC37, CC11 and CC18 from farms without listeriosis history. Only one hypervirulent CC4 (1%) was isolated from the case farm. Sequence types (STs) were not associated with the isolation source, except for ST7, which was significantly associated with soil (p < 0.05). The contamination of soil, feeding tables and troughs with L. monocytogenes was associated with an increased prevalence of L. monocytogenes at farms. Our study indicates the importance of hygienic practice in the prevention of the dissemination of L. monocytogenes in the cattle farm environment.